Sorry Alex, I'm going to the mall!
Trip Start Jun 19, 2008
69Trip End Sep 04, 2008
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To escape the heat, I suggested going to see a movie. You get to chill for an hour or two in the nicely airconditioned theater. Movie theaters are abundant in Cairo and vary quite a bit in quality, ranging from a ghetto dollar theater where kids go while skipping class (5EGP a pop) to a luxurious theater at the mall (30EGP)
Salma said this mall is the biggest and nicest mall she has ever been to, and it was no exaggeration. It was so colossal and luxurious! We had to go through a security gate to join the liberal, wealthy atmosphere. People dressed in western fashion were common. Many girls were clanking their heels, showing off their hair, arms, and ankles- they wre fierce! And the stores... the stores! All the major clothing stores that you would find at an outlet in the U.S. were here, plus much, much more! Half of the stores must have been restaurants. Eateries that are usually a quick stop in the mall food court, like Sbarros, were full-blown restaurants here. People casually smoked indoors, while walking around the mall or sitting down to eat. For the first hour (yes, the first of many hours), I could not get over the variety of the stores packed into this 9-story mall
My eyes must be getting conservative because I now gasp when I see a girl wearing a sleeveless or tightly embracing her beau. This reminds me of a conversation I had with Salma:
Me: When a guy and a girl hold hands, does that mean they are married?"
Sal: Most likely they are engaged or newly wed without babies."
Me: Then what do married couples do?
Sal: Not even look at each other.
Haha! So sad! There is definitely an interesting relationship between the oppression of sexual expression and experimentation and the prevalence of men's sleaziness and women's promiscuity. I saw Saudi girls pass by (you can tell Saudi girls apart because everything except their eyes are covered in black, and they have flashy handbags) and wondered about them. Is Egypt a place for them to be free of the Islamic law that dominates their country?
We walked around for a while, taking the smart escalator up, the glass elevator down, and the spiral staircase down some more
I came back to the hostel around 8:15pm to take a shower and get my massive backpack ready for tonight's travel to ASWAN! I arranged a 3-day tour in the upper-Nile valley for the price of a nice pair of jeans. I was hesitating because it did not include entrance fees, which adds up to a lot even with so much student discount, and because I have never done a package tour by myself. I trust the hostel guys Peter and Hasan though, and I'm stoked about getting to see Abu Simbel!
The 10pm overnight train from Cairo takes me to Aswan. I'm actually sitting here typing this entry. I had no problem finding the station and platform, but it took me a while to find Wagon 7. I think I got impatient and worked up because of all the weight on my back
I was surprised that there weren't more foreigners on board; I thought I'd be in a segregated wagon for foreigners. My wagon had only three non-Egyptian people from what I could tell (non-Caucasian too! basically unidentifiable). I was initially worried about the noise because there were two babies in the wagon plus several loud Egyptian men, but they all became quiet once the train took off (I guess they need sleep too). I slept so well with a Tylenol PM. When I woke up, I saw green fields and Africa-esque trees and very sparsely-placed quaint buildings. Can't wait to get to Aswan!